It's enough to make an entire city cry. First Brian Williams of the Denver Nuggets, then Mario Elie and Vernon Maxwell of the Houston Rockets took turns bashing Salt Lake City during the NBA playoffs.

The city is too boring, with not enough good restaurants or nightspots, they complained. Williams said he would go straight to Europe rather than play here if he were traded to the Utah Jazz. Of course, he flew into town just as the wind shifted to send the unique perfume of the Great Salt Lake over the valley, which probably didn't help.Elie, a self-professed "New York City guy," said he was getting worn out just sitting in his hotel room. Presumably, he wanted more of the type of charm that makes New York City such a fun-loving and desirable family location.

Maxwell raised the debate to new levels by prefacing his remarks with, "Nothing against the city of Utah, but . . . "

Well, Salt Lakers, take heart. You may not have much of what excites young millionaires who chase bouncing balls around a court, but that probably isn't such a tragic thing.

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Besides, jokes about how boring Salt Lake City is are becoming about as original as asking basketball players what the weather is like up there. Cities with low crime rates and wide, clean streets just don't appeal to some people.

Boredom may even be a huge asset. After all, the object in the playoffs isn't to make the opposing team feel so much at home that they come out rested and ready to play. The city ought to go out of its way to be especially dull in April, May and June so visiting players go mad biting their fingernails in their rooms.

Really, though, one has to wonder about such criticisms from guys who play in Denver and Houston. Nice cities, but they aren't exactly No. 1 on most people's vacation lists.

Nothing against the cities of Colorado and Texas, of course.

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